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Steve C. Wilson, Associated Press
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41), of Germany, puts a jump shot over Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap (24) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012.

NEW ORLEANS — Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle says Dirk Nowitzki will sit out for at least the next four games, starting with Saturday night's contest in New Orleans, so the star forward can get in better game shape.

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Carlisle says Nowitzki needs "an uninterrupted eight days of work to resolve some physical issues and conditioning issues."

The Mavs coach says Nowitzki would prefer to keep playing but coaches and training staff decided it would be better for the team if he is restricted from game activity for the next week. Carlisle stresses that "this is not a rest situation" but "quite the opposite."

Nowitzki has been playing with a protective sleeve on his right knee. His 17.5 points per game is a little more than four points below his career average.